Boating Laws and Regulations

Florida Boating Law Database

Created by the University of Florida Conservation Clinic, this searchable database contains a compilation of the Laws of Florida that have affected key statutes, relevant case law, and other pertinent documents associated with Florida Statutes Chapter 327. The Laws of Florida are the general and special laws enacted by the Florida legislature. They provide the basis for Chapter 327, which addresses boating law and has been amended numerous times since its original passage in 1959. Each of the Laws of Florida is published by year and in the order it was passed. Laws of Florida passed prior to the 1980s are generally unavailable online, but have been scanned into this database as searchable PDF files. The database allows you to search for keywords simultaneously in all of the pertinent Laws of Florida via one primary search engine. In providing access to the legislative history of Chapter 327, this database is a helpful resource in the clarification and streamlining of statute implementation. Click here to open the Florida Boating Law Database.

The link will open the Boating Law Database folder in your web browser. To access the searchable feature, you must download all of the files to your computer. To do this, click the “Download” drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the browser window, and then “Download as .zip.” When the download is complete, extract all of the files from the .zip folder. Open the “PDF_Index” Acrobat Catalog Index file. If a permissions message appears, click “Allow.” An Adobe search window will open. Under “Where would you like to search?” select “All PDF Documents in” and then use the drop-down menu to navigate to the folder in which the database files are saved. You are ready to search! If you have any difficulties, do not hesitate to contact us!

A Legislative History of Chapter 327, Florida Statutes
This is the report associated with the creation of the Florida Boating Law Database.

Florida Statutes Chapter 327: Vessel Safety

State Boating Regulations
This summary of Florida’s boating laws found in Ch. 327 and Ch. 328, Florida Statutes, is provided by the FWC.

Signage, Restricted Areas, and Local Government Enforcement of Vessel Regulation in Florida
This memorandum addresses issues related to local government authority to regulate vessels and install waterway markers (signage).

Rights of Navigation

Anchoring Away: Government Regulation and the Rights of Navigation in Florida
Anchoring Away was first published in 1999. It was revised in 2006 to reflect changes in state law. In 2009 further significant legislation changed the way anchoring is regulated in Florida. This third edition of “Anchoring Away” represents a comprehensive review of federal and state laws on the regulation of anchoring in Florida. Boaters and local government policymakers can use it to understand their respective rights and authority. This report and related work addressing the law of boating and waterway management has been made possible through the ongoing support of Florida Sea Grant.

Community Guide to Managed Anchorages and Mooring Fields
This PowerPoint presentation provides communities with a map to the process of developing a managed anchorage or mooring field in the state of Florida.

Southwest Florida Anchorage Inventory
Florida Sea Grant’s anchorage inventory provides on-line maps and information for popular southwest Florida anchorages. It is the result of a five-year program to identify where and by what means anchorage management is required in southwest Florida. To help boaters make informed choices when selecting an anchorage, information is presented on local government ordinances, recreational characteristics, shoreside amenities, anchorage uses and sizes, and important safety factors.

FWC Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program, Report of Findings and Recommendations
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program began in 2009 when the state legislature directed the FWC to select five participating local governments and to use those local governments to test a variety of boat anchoring ordinances. The pilot program is intended to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields. This report describes a history and overview of the program, details of the individual local ordinances, results of data collection and a public perception survey, and FWC’s findings and recommendations to the Legislature.

Riparian Rights in Florida
Coming soon!

Derelict Vessels

These documents help local governments to both understand the current state statutes surrounding derelict vessel issues and some of the background analysis of how the law evolved.

Local Government Approaches to Derelict Vessels: A Legal Flow Chart

Local Government Authority to Remove Abandoned and Derelict Vessels


Manatee Awareness & Protection Resource (MAPR)
Florida Sea Grant’s Manatee Awareness and Protection Resource website uses interactive maps and graphics to describe factors considered in the designation of manatee protection zones in Florida’s coastal waters.

Florida Marine Sewage Discharge Regulation